In this year I’ve watched the endless cycle of old friends hitting the monumental age once named “Over The Hill.” One by one, they crest over the mountain and start walking on the other side of middle age. There’s a serious shift, while no one wants to admit it, which says goodbye to some of the wandering hopeful youth and replaces it with the fact of a life chosen.
It only felt more real when I saw my Facebook feed fill up with birthday wishes to Mr. Jollett on his big 4-0 accomplishment a couple weeks ago. Him too? He’s not immune to the battle I face this year? His million dollar smile couldn’t be 39 forever? The charismatic front man who seizes the moment couldn’t fight off the age beast making its way to consume me?
People argue it’s not really that way. From their over 40 side they promise it isn’t so bad. Some embrace it whole-heartedly with “I’ve never felt better in my life than I do now.” Others try to ease my concerns with “What’s the big deal?” and “Look what you have in your life.” These are all great band-aids to cover the wound. And in time they will heal over and leave a small scar that is overshadowed by 50, 60, 70…etc (hopefully).
Please don’t confuse my honesty with not appreciating my blessings. If you do, you’re not listening to me at all. This isn’t about them not being enough. This insecurity, fear, self-analysis is more about asking what am I making with my time? Am I the person at 40 that I imagined I would be when I was 18? And even though that dream may not have been based in reality, am I still paying homage to the innocence of “you can do anything you want” when I wake up each morning?
When I laid in bed on Mr. Jollett’s 40th birthday and started to worry about my own upcoming one, I wondered out loud if Mikel gave two thoughts about his new decade. Hubs chuckled.
“Of course Mikey does. He’s going through all the things he hasn’t done and kicking himself for not doing them,” he said.
“Rock stars don’t feel like that. They travel the world, have people adore them, and can do anything they want,” I said.
“People rarely see themselves as the rock stars they are.” Hubs rolled over to leave me with the words and start his own stressing game about what kind of party I’m expecting him to throw.
I guess it always comes down to the reality we choose to live in. What do we make of ourselves when the sun rises and we take our first step out of bed? Are we walking towards living the life we want to lead or dragging into the prison we create in our minds? I think I push towards doing all the things I’ve dreamed up. Each day another opportunity, another experience, another memory to be made. I need those days even though they bring me closer to the number. On the day that 40 lights up my cake, (probably one I’ve made), I might give a weary smile and appreciate that I did a helluva lot with the 14,610 days I was given.
And I’m still not wearing that fucking shirt.